GREEN — Bids from potential third-party operators of what is now Raintree Country Club and golf course is the next step in the city's plan to possibly purchase the 145-acre property on Mayfair Road.

The future of the land and its possible usage dominated discussion at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

City officials have proposed buying the property for $3.3 million from owner John Rainieri to preserve the green space rather than open it up for possible high-density housing or other types of development. The city has a Nov. 1 deadline with Rainieri to decide.

The plan discussed Tuesday is to seek bids and proposals from potential operators by Oct. 29.

Interim Law Director William Chris said it may be necessary to seek a deadline extension from Rainieri.

Service Director Valerie Carr said a request for proposals would be advertised for bids Oct. 5 and 12. She suggested the bids could be evaluated and three finalists interviewed before council votes Nov. 13 or 27 with a potential closing date of Dec. 1 and effective Jan. 1.

Council President Chris Humphrey suggested a special meeting could be held immediately after the bids are examined to meet the Nov. 1 deadline.

Residents Pat Carleski and Steve Braswell voiced opposition to the purchase with Carleski saying, “I am not opposed to green space. I am not opposed to parks. But I am opposed to spending this amount of money and the expenses for upkeep and staff and everything that would go with it for a purpose that only would serve a small segment of the population of Green.

“I would like to see it made into a park facility that everyone in Green could avail themselves of," Carleski said. "I am a taxpayer and I would get no benefit from it."

Braswell added: “It doesn’t seem there is any burning need to rush into this. Don’t be restrained by any artificial deadlines. Take your time and do it right.”

Matthew Kuwatch, president of Raintree Estates Homeowners Association, encouraged council members to support the city's purchase of Raintree. He said retaining the land as either a golfing facility or green space "is in the overall best interest of the city, the city financial position, the infrastructure, the taxpayers and the community.”

Attorney Gust Callas, chief counsel for Raintree and Rainieri, said there is no truth to rumors "about the bailing out of Mr. Rainieri."

Councilman Rocco Yeargin asked Callas about allegations in pending litigation filed in October 2017 in U.S. District Court in Akron that Raintree and Prestwick country clubs misrepresented membership numbers (to plaintiff Health and Wellness Lifestyle Clubs of Wilmington, Del.). Rainieri owns both Raintree and Prestwick which is also in Green.

 “I can tell you that the plaintiffs had a CPA reviewing the books for almost two months," Callas said. "They reviewed every invoice. They reviewed everything. The allegations are false and without merit, and I am putting that lightly."

 “I will address those issues at the appropriate time with the court. ... All I can tell you is that I read [the records]. I reviewed them," Callas continued. "I have explicit trust in the CPA who did them [for us].

 “More importantly, you know John Rainieri. I have explicit trust in his word, his credibility and what he has done for this community."